According to information from the World Health Organization, China has the largest number of smoking population in the world.
In 2002, China had altogether 900 million smokers, with 350-some million of them being active smokers and 540-some million being passive smokers. The number of smokers accounted for 70 percent of the country's total population, Jin Wan Bao reported.
In China, 60 percent of the males and 4 percent of the females aged 15 or above smoke cigarettes. Of the 5 million people who die of various diseases related with smoking every year in the world, 1.2 million are in China. If the situation is not controlled, it is estimated that by 2020, the figure might reach 10 million.
Recently, the Ministry of Health published the draft version of a regulation on sanitation administration in public places. The draft version was issued to canvass the public's comments before it is officially enacted. In this draft version, it is clearly stated, for the first time in history, that smoking in public places is 'prohibited'. By issuing the regulation, China will launch a nationwide campaign against smoking.
Revision of the regulation will be completed by the end of this year. By then, it will become a state law to ban smoking in public places, said Xu Guihua, deputy chairman and secretary-general of the China Anti-Smoking Association.
The State Adminsitration of Industry and Commerce will finish the revision work on the Provisional Measures for the Administration of Cigarette Advertising, possibly by the end of this year or early next year. It is expected that by January 2011, China will completely ban cigarette ads and promotion activities, Xu added.
(Chinanews October 10, 2007)